Courage to be Happy

It's odd. At least, it seems.

Most people don't choose to be happy. They lack courage.

It's a puzzle I discovered. And it has taken me time to understand this puzzle. My in-sessions demonstrate a lot of examples regarding this.

Why would people not choose to be happy?

I'm reminded of two clients I served several years apart. Both of these women were devout believers in the local church.

One appeared to be a wellspring of joy. She enjoyed being alive. The other woman could be seen best by the word "long-suffering." Life seemed a burden to her always.

Here's the contrast these two women demonstrated.

The one who's full of joy lived life with a chronically sick husband and modest finances to support two children.

The "long-suffering" woman was a daughter of millionaire parents. She held a good job with a devoted husband and family.

Happiness or the lack of it for these two women evidenced the fact that it has nothing to do with the circumstances of their lives.

It's clear to me that our capacity for happiness is tied up inextricably with health and wholeness of our body, mind, and spirit.

It takes courage to be happy. The mystery revolves around the exercise of our power to choose. Most of us self-justify, which blocks our courage to choose to be happy.

Norman Cousins, author of the bestseller "Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient," practiced this self-prescribed therapy of courage to choose to be happy.

He found a pertinent text in Jeremiah 46:11, which states, "In vain, you choose many medicines; there is no healing for you."

In contrast, Cousins referenced Proverbs 17:22, which tells us "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones."

If we're going to have the courage to choose to be happy, no matter the circumstances, we need the Presence. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin put it: "Joy is the surest sign of the presence of God."

Both psychology and science affirm this truth. The courage to choose to be happy or joyful comes from the Source and Giver of life.